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The rail sector has a key role to play in the ecological transition. As it emits much less CO₂ than other means of transport, it should experience a new boom.
The European Union, for example, has included in its 2050 transport targets the ambition to
But the current energy crisis highlights the sector's sensitivity to the price of energy, which for some players can represent up to 20% of their costs.
Among the preferred solutions for strengthening the rail system, stakeholders are considering the implementation of decentralized renewable energy production systems, coupled with battery storage units.
The RACCOR-D project, coordinated by SNCF Réseau, has a triple challenge: to create an intelligent, environmentally friendly MVDC electricity network that offers greater resilience to rail operations. This network will facilitate the use of renewable energies by the railways. It will reduce energy losses and optimize its costs. Its structure will be more ecologically sustainable thanks to the saving of raw materials, particularly copper, and the high recyclability of its components. The RACCOR-D project is in particular developing a direct current converter. The application of the high-frequency electronic transformer in the railway industry represents a technological break with the traditional architecture using alternating current associated with the passive transformer. The use of a high frequency allows the mass and volume of the transformer to be reduced considerably.
This project will facilitate the use of renewable energy by the railway. It will reduce energy losses and optimize network costs.
At the same time, the SNCF and SNCF Réseau are working with the CEA at the INES to develop photovoltaic systems capable of operating at voltages of up to 9000Vdc. The aim is dual:
The current market does not provide panels for voltages above 1500Vdc. The SNCF project will therefore benefit from the CEA's expertise in this field as the CEA has already developed photovoltaic panels for the 3000Vdc voltage range. An experimental 3000Vdc power plant is also being installed at INES as part of the European H2020 Tigon project.
Read more about the Horizon project 2020 TIGON :
This project is based on the work of INES.2S, the Institute for Energy Transition (ITE). Led by the CEA at INES, its mission is to develop in France the industry for the integration of photovoltaic solar energy, in support of the French Multiannual Energy Programming Law. The ITE INES.2S is co-financed by the French government as part of the France 2030 Investment Program (ANR-10-IEED-0014-01).
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.